Once I worked in the deli of a Garden Center. It was set in a suburb where it wasn’t uncommon to see statues of lions or eagles flagging the winding driveways. It was posh. My main job was to dig out expired food from our shelves. The rest of the time I stood behind the glass waiting until someone wanted cheese. On average 5 people wanted cheese a week. Not an in-demand task and therefore my cheese-cutting skills weren’t great. Nor was my packaging.
The hard cheeses were easiest, because I’d simply slice with the wire smooth down the middle. Then I could wrap the cheese like a present. It would be the ‘wrapping boxes’ of presents. No weird sphere shapes, no fancy crumpling of corners.
Next there were the soft pâtés. Pâtés needed light fingers and a photographic memory. Pâté was also sliced with the wire, scooped up onto the paper and then I’d have to wrap it blind. Sometimes I misjudged the pâté size and as I was wrapping it, I’d feel a distinctive squelch under my thumb. When that customer got home, they’d be disappointed to open the packet and have to scrape their pâté back together after it had been squished by my clumsy fingers.
Only twice in my time at the deli did someone order the Stinking Bishop.
Both times it was a smug bald man, flashing a gleeful smile. When you unwrap the beast the smell festers for a good half an hour. The Stinking Bishop is also a slimy cheese, so traces of it would cling to the cheese wire. We’d need to deep clean the shop after wrapping up a package of the Stinking Bishop.
I used to wrap packets of cheese and pâté, now I prepare ‘packages’ of social media posts, email blasts and kids crafts. Most jobs are wrapping up little packages of things you’d rather not buy and delivering them to the people that want them. We should work to package whatever we’re ‘packaging’ to the best of our ability, but we shouldn’t lose sleep over imperfections.
The pâté is going to be spread on crackers anyway. The Stinking Bishop is going to be just as stinking as ever. It’s just a package and you tried your best.